The American Home Furnishings Alliance offers this advice to help you choose the perfect furniture for your home.
Before you do anything else, measure the space you wish to fill with furniture. There’s nothing more frustrating than choosing a new room full of furniture and having it not fit up the steps or in your room.
Next, consider what you’d like the focal point in your room to be. Often this is a window, a fireplace or a television. Consider how people will enter and exit the room. Then, use our room planner or paper to design your furniture placement. Does this sound tricky? Feel free to ask us for help--it’s free!
Most styles of decor fall into one of the following styles:
The easiest way to choose a style for your home is to follow the style of the building. A colonial home would be expected to carry traditional furnishings whereas a log cabin would be likely to house rustic or country style furnishings.
Also consider how the space will be used. If you plan to entertain guest, you may want a more formal design. If you’d like to curl up in front of the fire, a more casual contemporary or eclectic design may work well.
Finally, suit your personality. If you are conservative, a traditional setting would feel comfortable to you. If you are trendy, a more modern or contemporary style might be what you prefer.
If you are “starting from scratch”, it is easiest to choose your furniture before your wall color or carpet. There are so many hues of paint that pulling a color from furniture can help narrow your search. Many paint stores can match your paint color using a swatch of fabric.
When considering wall color, think about the mood you’d like in the room. If you’d like the room to feel energizing, choose a warm color such as red or orange. Blues and purples are calming colors. If you’d like to play it safe, neutrals are for you. Choose a color in the range from white to medium brown. Many people find it helpful to consider a color scheme for each room. Then decide which elements in the room will pull in each of your chosen colors.
To help you with all those color options, we’ve included a description of color schemes:
Using a color wheel, you’d choose colors on opposite sides to create this vibrant scheme. For example, you would pair shades of blue with oranges, reds with greens, and yellows with violets. But, don’t just think of seasonal reds and greens when using those colors. Consider shades of those colors like soft pink and seafoam green.
This is a harmonious scheme that uses at least two adjacent colors on the color wheel. Examples would be green with blue-green and yellow-green or perhaps green with blue-green and blue-violet. Usually, this is considered a restful scheme.
This scheme uses just one color with its many shades and tints throughout a space. For example, you could choose burgundy, rose, pale pink, and white.
This scheme is the neutral colors and is fairly limited, but always “safe”. Many sophisticated and elegant spaces are formed with this scheme. Consider blacks and grays, browns and tans, and the many varieties of white.
One of the most common mistakes made when arranging a room, especially a large room, is lining all the furniture up along the walls. To make a large room cozier, pull the furniture in from the walls. Often, more than one sitting area can be created in a large room. In a great room, for example, one area may serve as a gathering space, with the television or fireplace as one focal point. A second, smaller sitting area can consist of one or two chairs with a small table, in front of a window.
Another tactic is to place furniture on a diagonal. This can work well in a large bedroom. Try placing the bed on a diagonal. Then, create an “invisible” border, or room within a room, by using an area rug. Place other pieces in line with the rug, instead of the walls.
The furniture itself will play a role in how cozy a room feels. The size of your pieces should be in proportion to the room. For example, a large, overstuffed sofa works great in a large space. Likewise, small, light furniture will “float” in a large room, so you want to avoid these. Fabrics also play a role in filling a large space. Soft, textured chenille is a great, cozy fabric. Microfiber is another good choice, both for the cozy feel and the easy care. The use of scatter pillows and throws can also add warmth and style.
Also, keep in mind how color and patterns can alter a room. Deep, rich, warm colors will give a large room a cozy feel. Bright or dark colors on the floor will seem to draw the walls closer. If the ceiling is high, paint it any color other than white to pull it down. A slightly lighter shade of the wall color is an option. Horizontal lines will also lower a high ceiling. Adding some molding details can also help break up space, making a room less overwhelming.
Finally, don’t forget the accessories. Large plants are a great way to fill space and make a room inviting. One large plant with several smaller ones can make a nice addition to a large room. Don’t have a green thumb? Don’t worry, Wayside Furniture has a great selection of very realistic looking plants and floral arrangements. You’ll be tempted to touch them to see if they’re real!
The challenge of a small space is to be organized. Ugghh! Here are some tips:
First, keep only what you really need. Create a space for everything and then keep everything in that space. Use your space wisely. Tall shelving, armoires, and cabinets make great use of vertical space and create extra storage or display areas.
Choose very functional furniture. A coffee table that stores ottomans under it or one that opens to fit blankets in it are examples. Also, remember a room will look larger if you can see more flooring. A skirted sofa will make a room appear smaller than a sofa with bare wood legs. Mirrors can also add an illusion of more space.
Use light colors on the walls and in the furniture to make a space more airy. Try concentrating art into a grouping on just one wall. Avoid too many different contrasting colors because they break up the room and make it appear smaller.
Grouping elements into odd numbers seems to be the key in making visually pleasing areas. Three is often the magical number. This applies to accessories and fabric choices as well. With fabrics there are several considerations. Three well coordinated fabrics would have one light, one medium and one dark. There would also be a solid or very small pattern, a medium pattern, and a large pattern. When pulling three fabrics together, one of those should pull the other two together. For example, if you have chosen a floral and a solid, then your third choice might be a plaid or stripe with colors from the other two in it.
Also consider the textures and colors of your fabric. A heavily textured, soft fabric in subdued colors would fit a rustic or country setting. For a more formal room, richer colors in lighter textures, even silky or with a sheen bring elegance.
Accessorizing a room really finishes the space. It defines your style and pulls the room together. It sets the mood. Re-accessorizing adds seasonality, changes a room from masculine to feminine, or simply refreshes the space.
Accessories include lamps, plants and flowers, pictures, rugs, and any other objects that can bring personality to a room. One of the most common mistakes when placing accessories in a room is scattering them throughout. It is more visually pleasing to group like items together such as a collection of vases or a grouping of pictures.
For inspiration with accessories, visit Wayside Furniture. Each room is a professionally decorated setting. You may see a way to use something you already have. If you need something new, you’ll be in the right place!
Correct lighting is an essential part of any room. Before shopping for fixtures, consider these factors:
Consider whether or not the room receives natural daylight. If the room is painted a dark color, you may want more task lighting. A space for dining needs overhead lighting. Wayside has a great selection of table lamps and floor lamps to meet many of your lighting needs.
Alder: Hard, strong wood that seasons easily, works well, is easily stained to imitate walnut and mahogany. It has a maple-like figure.
Ash: White ash is a ring-porous, hardwood of great strength. Used for furniture frames and hidden parts. Brown ash has strong grain character and is used for veneers. Black ash is similar to white but lighter in weight and softer.
Birch: One of the strongest American cabinet woods that is widely used by furniture manufacturers. It is heavy, similar to maple, and is average in stiffness and hardness for hardwoods, but above average in toughness. The grain is fine and close and the texture is even. It is adaptable to fine finishes and easy to work with. It can be stained and finished to resemble many expensive and imported cabinet woods.
Cedar, Red: Used primarily in lining cedar chests. A durable wood known for its fragrance. Also used for lining chests, closets and drawers.
Hackberry: Native American wood. Used widely in the South. Resembles elm. Has a natural blonde color.
Hickory: Native American wood of the walnut family. Used for rustic furniture. Is very hard, tough, and heavy.
Mahogany: Comes in many different varieties. Often called the aristocrat of cabinet woods. Dates back to the Chippendale era of the 18th century. Strong and tough and uniform in structure with close moderately open grain. Possesses excellent physical and woodworking qualities. Freshly cut, it ranges from a light pink to yellow, but on exposure to light and air, quickly turns to a reddish brown or sherry color.
Maple: Hard or "sugar," maple is one of the most popular woods used in today's furniture industry. It is elastic and very strong. It has good shock resisting qualities and wears well. It is one of the hardest of the common woods. The grain is straight with occasional wavy, curly, bird's eye patterns that are much prized in veneers. The natural color is white to amber. Less desirable features are that it warps easily unless properly seasoned and occasionally splits. Maple is sometimes finished to simulate cherry wood.
Oak: Oak is the most popular of all wood used in furniture making. Oak is very tough, strong, and hard and can live up to the every day abuse furniture takes. Has a pronounced grain that is emphasized when quarter sawed. This is called a "cathedral" grain. Oak is somewhat difficult to work and therefore is used on simpler furniture styles.
Particle Board: Used primarily for core-stock.
Pine: Soft wood that is white or pale yellow. Knotty pine is used extensively for paneling and plywood, cabinets and doors. Dries easily and does not shrink or swell much with changes in humidity. One of the least expensive woods for furniture production.
Redwood: The California redwood is one of the most durable woods. Used for furniture cores because of stability, machining and gluing qualities, high strength and light weight. Used a lot with outdoor furniture because of high resistance to decay and insects. Weathers well.
Rosewood: Dark chestnut or red brown wood streaked and grained with black. Takes a fine polish. Has a milk rose aroma.
Teak: Comes from Java, Burma, Thailand and India. Colors enrich with age. Straight grain, though often richly figured. Has a fragrance similar to rosewood.
Walnut: William and Mary introduced American walnut to England. Has remarkable fidelity. Soft and pleasing grain. Walnut is ideally suited to carving. The heartwood of American walnut is light brown to chocolate brown.
Furniture plays an important part in our lives and in our homes. That is why it is essential to care for our furniture to ensure its longevity and cleanliness. By using a little common sense, a little patience and some elbow grease, our home furnishings will last several lifetimes. Here are a few basic tips to keep our home furnishings looking their best:
In the event that your leather is accidentally stained, there are some basic procedures that you need to follow. A mild solution such as liquid Ivory® soap with distilled water is a good approach for spills that have dried. Always try the cleaning method in a hidden area first prior to cleaning the stain and always follow the manufacturers recommended cleaning instructions. Never use saddle soap, abrasive cleanser, furniture polish oil, ammonia, or excess water. Because there are multiple leather types that require different types of cleaning, please use caution.
Always remember to wipe the stain from the outer edge of the spill to its center to help prevent cleaning rings. As soon as possible after the spill, blot any excess liquid with a dry cloth or sponge. If necessary, use distilled, lukewarm water and continue blotting the stain. Do not rub vigorously. Once the stain has been removed, wipe dry with a clean towel and let air-dry. If you are unable to remove the stain, consult a professional cleaner. With minimal care, your leather will provide you with decades of enjoyment.
NOTE: The preceding remedies are in accordance with general cleaning industry procedures. We cannot guarantee favorable results, and we assume no liability in connection with their use.
Before you try to remove a stain from your upholstered furniture, you need to determine the type of fabric involved. Most manufacturers will place cleaning codes on the furniture. Usually you can find this information on the furniture hangtag or on the manufacturer's label. If not, feel free to contact us and we will do our best to educate you on the best cleaning procedure possible. The manufacturers' cleaning codes suggest the best methods for cleaning and removing stains.
Here is a reference list of those cleaning codes. If you are in question, contact the manufacturer for more detailed cleaning instructions.
In the event that you purchased a fabric protection warranty from Wayside Furniture, the cleaning and removal of the stain will be done at no cost to you for the period of the warranty. As the customer you are covered against stains from common household foods and beverages or human and pet bodily fluids for 5 years. If you have further questions about such warranties, please contact us and one of our professional sales associates will assist you.
Generally, you should consider that you’re accessorizing the furniture, not the entire wall. When placing pictures above a sofa, for example, the bottom of the pictures should be about 3-6 inches above the sofa back. Be aware of the ceiling height as well. Vertical items may be more appealing if you have a vaulted ceiling. Remember art isn’t just pictures. Adding some sconces or shelving can add interest. Also, keep in mind that groupings of art add more impact than art spread out along the entire room.
Information Accuracy - We have taken great care to provide you with information that is accurate and useful. Please notify us if you find an error, and we will do our best to correct it. We ask that you contact us directly and visit our stores to confirm information about pricing, color, features, dimensions, availability and special order lead times.